Stop it Dave. No, really, stop it. Stop!

A final word for a chap called Dave. Plus some reassuring news for the people of a certain ward in t

Dear Marina

wha g’wan? DC here. Check it. You’re just the kind of bird I want in my party. You’re not old. You don’t wear twinsets and pearls but you do remind older colleagues of a young feisty Maggie. Let’s face it you’re wasted on old man Ming’s posse! Come on be a Green Con like me! Cross the floor and sex us up, you gorgeous filly.

Yours with the utmost respec’, Dave.

P.S. Word!

You turn if you want to: on Iraq, on ID cards, raising standards in education and the rest. But this lady is not for turning.

Sorry Dave – Trident hugger - I’d rather have my nipples crushed in a mangle.

Given your media friendly claims of a U-turn on traditional nasty Tory values, and your apparent repentance at constantly propping up the Labour vote, how about coming over to us. We’re waiting for you here

But please, don’t bring your councillors with you. It’s just too ghastly to contemplate.

Dear Marina

I had a phone call the other day from a lady asking me to vote Tory. Obviously I told her I was voting for you. I mean, how many men my age get to vote for a rising political star with lovely eyes and great baps to boot?

She advised me you were being parachuted into a safe seat. Newhaven she said, owing to local support for your anti-incinerator campaign.

Notwithstanding my concern at you taking up sky diving, I’m gutted you could even contemplate abandoning your community.

We love you Marina

George, East Saltdean near Brighton.
PS: Thank you for sorting my recycling!

George. Thank you for your getting in touch. Rest assured sir, with my record of action and promise of more I WILL stand for re-election in my community of East Saltdean and Telscombe on May 3rd.

This scurrilous rumour appears to be a dirty trick aimed at destroying my hard earned personal vote – and the well deserved local LibDem vote. We’re a strong team.

George, we’re fighting for our political lives against a bunch of no mark Cons. Every vote counts on 3rd May. All offers of help and pledges for the fighting fund to Vote Pepper

The revolution is on George
M
Xxx
PS: Need a postal vote or a lift to the polling station?

Dear Marina

Firstly my apologies. You were right. Grabbing your bottom like that was no way to behave since you were meeting me in your capacity as Mayor. Thank you for dealing with my local issue with such manners and grace. I deserved a face slap.

To the point. The Tories have just been round trying to press gang me to stand in the locals.

I told them, Marina, I said there’s no way I’d stand against you. I mean who wants to work that hard? And for what? Just to get hassled by old ladies smelling of wee, moaning about the state of the pavements whenever I pop out to the local shop for 20 Marlborough and a packet of king sized Rizlas. Why don’t they just drive like normal people?

Anyway. They said you weren’t standing here. I’m appalled. It’s not because I grabbed your bum is it?

Name and address supplied

Thank you for getting in touch. I WILL stand for re-election on 3rd May in East Saltdean and Telscombe. To request a postal vote, donate money, or pledge support here

I neither smoke Marlborough nor experience similar encounters when using my local shops for all my supplies (bar the vegetables - my home is the local organic veg box drop off for East Saltdean and Telscombe).

I do however accept that the pavements in our ward are an atrocious mess. I know this because all sorts of people have told me. And I listen. I’ve twisted my ankle, too, while out delivering Focus leaflets.

But crazy pavements, like pot-holed roads and the Newhaven incinerator are the responsibility of East Sussex County Council. Controlled by the Tories, of course.

If you want my advice about standing dwell on this: it’s a two horse race on May 3rd. Only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Tories. You might win by one vote. Don’t risk it.

Marina Pepper is a former glamour model turned journalist, author, eco-campaigner and Lib Dem politician. A councillor and former Parliamentary candidate, she lives near Brighton with her two children.
Why not e-mail your problems to askmarina@newstatesman.co.uk?
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Inside the Momentum rally: meet the Jeremy Corbyn supporters challenging Labour’s rebel MPs

The Labour leader's followers had been waiting a long time for him to come along. 

Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party is at stake. As the news filters through the party’s branches, hundreds of thousands sign petitions in his support. But this is no online craze. By evening, thousands of diehard fans have gathered in Parliament Square, where they shout “Ed, Ed, Ed,” to the beat of a drum. Many swear Ed was the only thing keeping them in the Labour Party. They can’t imagine supporting it without him.

Am I stretching your credibility? Even a Milifan would be hard pressed to imagine such a scene. But this is precisely Labour’s problem. Only Jeremy Corbyn can command this kind of passion.

As the Shadow Cabinet MPs began to resign on Sunday, Momentum activists sprang into action. The rally outside Parliament on Monday evening  was organised with only 24 hours notice. The organisers said 4,000 were there. It certainly felt to me like a thousand or more were crammed into the square, and it took a long time to push through to the front of the crowd. 

In contrast to the whispered corridor conversations happening across the road, the Corbyn fans were noisy. Not only did they chant Jeremy’s name, they booed any mention of the Parliamentary Labour Party and waved signs denouncing rebel MPs as “scabs”. Other posters had a whiff of the cult about them. One declared: “We love Jeremy Corbyn”. Many had the t-shirt. 

“Jeremy Corbyn brought me back into the Labour Party,” Mike Jackson, one of the t-shirt wearers, told me. He had voted Remain, but he didn’t care that the majority of the Shadow Cabinet had resigned. “He’s got a new Shadow Cabinet. It’s more diverse, there are working class voices at last, there are women, the BME community. It is exactly how it should be.” Another man simply told me: “I am here for Corbyn.”

The crowd was diverse, but in the way a university campus is diverse, not a London street or school playground. They shouted angry slogans, then moved aside obligingly for me to pass through. Jack, a young actor who did not want to give his full name, told me: “I used to vote Green. I am joining Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn. I like the guy. He listens. I have seen friends frustrated with him, but I really think he can do it.”

Syada Fatima Dastagir, a student, has supported Labour for years - “Old Labour”. She thought Corbyn would survive the coup: “I voted Green and Plaid Cymru, because I didn’t think Labour supported its roots. This has brought Labour back to its roots.”

This belief that Jezza will overcome was present everywhere in the crowd. When I asked Momentum organiser Sophie Nazemi if she thought Corbyn would go, she replied: “He won’t.”

She continued: “It is important that we demonstrate that if there is a leadership election, Jeremy will win again. It will be three months of distraction we don’t need when there is likely to be an election this year.”

Instead of turning on Corbyn, Labour should be focused on campaigning for better local housing stock and investment in post-industrial towns, she said. 

Whatever happens, she said Momentum would continue to build its grassroots organisation: “This is more than just about Jeremy, whilst Jeremy is our leader.”

As I moved off through the chanting crowds, I remembered bumping into Corbyn at an anti-austerity march just a year ago. Although he had thrown his hat into the ring for Labour leadership, he was on his own, anonymous to most of the passers by. In the year that has passed, he has become the figurehead of an unlikely cult.

Nevertheless, it was also clear from the people I spoke to that they have been waiting ages for him to come along. In other words, they chose their messiah. The PLP may try to bury him. But if these activists have their way, he’ll rise again.